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CNN Today

Investigators Question Bridgestone/Firestone Officials Ahead of Congressional Hearings Over Tire Recall

Aired August 28, 2000 - 2:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Congressional investigators are talking with Firestone executives today at company headquarters in Nashville. The House and Senate plan to hold hearings next month about Firestone tire safety and the recall of 6 1/2 million of the company's tires.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is keeping watch in Nashville. She joins us live.

Hi, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Kyra.

Bridgestone/Firestone insists it is doing all it can to help congressional investigators because, the tire maker contends, it shares the same goal: trying to find out what is behind tire separation problems and behind the recall of 6 1/2 million tires.

This team of congressional investigators has been questioning tire company officials all day long, also gathering documents to get to the heart of the issue, asking the very same questions the public wants to know. For example, how long has the tire maker known about difficulties with the 15-inch ATX, ATXII and Wilderness AT tires from the Decatur, Illinois plant? Could the company have acted faster? Is the recall wide enough?

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looks into 62 deaths and more than 100 injuries that may be linked to vehicles using those tires, some are calling for a wider recall. Firestone, however, defends its actions as appropriate, and adds that those calling for a wider recall are simply trying to scare people.

Now, over the weekend, the tire maker began airing TV commercials, as Ford already has, telling the public that it is doing all it can in terms of this recall. So far, 1 million tires have been replaced. And regardless, news of the recall has affected Ford Explorer Sales. And Firestone also admits that its profits are down by half for the first six months of this year.

Now, later this day, we are expecting a statement from Bridgestone/Firestone officials updating us on the recall program and how, this day, the questioning is going on, and whether it might be extended until tomorrow. Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: Susan Candiotti, thank you.

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